Library hours cut to limit history resource access
Libraries NI are now proposing to reduce the opening hours of a number of libraries across Down District but particularly Downpatrick Library, which presently houses the core Co Down historical collection in the Heritage Gallery.
According to Libraries NI, one of the reasons to relocate the core Co Down historical collection from Ballynahinch to Downpatrick Library was to make the historical archives more accessible to the general public with better opening hours and facilities for researchers of local history.
Libraries NI made much about the new historical facilities being re-housed in the Gallery wing of Downpatrick Library, but now less than a year after the official opening they are proposing to reduce opening hours and access to the Heritage Gallery and other services at Downpatrick Library.
The proposal to now cut Downpatrick Library opening hours by 13.5 hours per week to 40 hours will ultimately mean that the Co Down historical collection will not indeed be open any more hours than it had been in library headquarters when located at Ballynahinch, in fact it would be less.
Given that Downpatrick Library is in a main town and was recently upgraded to specifically facilitate and house the Co Down collection, I believe Downpatrick should be strongly considered as an exception.
I feel that people have been grossly misled in this matter.
CLLR PATRICK CLARKE
Down District Council